Andrew Mackay calls editors “tortured souls with red pens.” The question is, have they become editors because they are tortured souls, or are their souls tortured by spilling ink on authors’ manuscripts? Or by writers’ horrid mistakes? Or maybe it’s just some kind of personal confession of his.

Then again, maybe the writing editor made a slip (existential question of the day: do editors err?) and meant to say, “torturing souls.” Nah, only authors believe that. Editors are the author’s necessary evil, and maybe the adjective can be dispensed with, some writers think.

At least, Mackay recognizes that editors are the author’s salvation. For he are one.